A shady pottery collector is murdered in sunny New Mexico in this mystery in a “winning series” (Susan Wittig Albert).
Maybe it was the chance to make an easy $2,500. Or maybe it was the opportunity to examine a treasure trove of Anasazi pots—or maybe it was just a slow day at the antiques shop that convinced Hubie Schuze to agree to a strange proposition. A reclusive collector wants a confidential appraisal, with one catch: Hubie must be blindfolded and driven to an unknown location by a chauffeur. Sure, it’s an odd setup, but what could possibly go wrong?
Hubie’s nonchalance fades fast when he finds three replicas among the genuine antiquities. Worse, after returning home, he can’t seem to find the $2,500 cash that the collector gave him. Incensed at the rip-off, Hubie is determined to recoup the money, but Detective Whit Fletcher interrupts his scheme, dragging him instead to the morgue to identify a John Doe. When the sheet is pulled back, Hubie is shocked to see the body of the unknown art collector.
Hubie is not a suspect—yet. But the longer he pursues this mystery, the more tangled he will become in the dead man’s shadowy life.
The Pot Thief Who Studied Einstein is the 3th book in the Pot Thief Mysteries, but you may enjoy reading the series in any order.
Orenduff successfully combines humor and homicide in his superb eighth Pot Thief whodunit (after 2016's The Pot Thief Who Studied Georgia O'Keeffe). Part-time investigator Hubie Schuze, who unapologetically supports himself by illegally digging up ancient Native American pottery and then selling the artifacts at his Albuquerque store, accepts an adjunct teaching position at the University of New Mexico. Hubie was surprised by the offer, given that he had helped put a former head of the university's art department in prison, but he soon gets invested in trying to connect with device-addicted millennials. Hubie dodges several bullets, including a sexual harassment claim by a student who offered to sleep with him in exchange for a better grade, but he becomes a murder suspect after one of his students, who was covered in a plaster cast for a 3-D model, is found dead inside it. Fans of campus satires will enjoy how Orenduff skewers academic politics and political correctness in the service of a fair-play plot.